Knowing the risks of feeding RAM

19 December 2017

Australian beef producers well know the risk Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) poses to their businesses, and to the industry as a whole.

The United States, United Kingdom and Japanese industries have all suffered significantly at various times over the past 20 years when cases of ‘mad cow disease’ were identified.

The disease was spread through meat fed to cattle and had devastating effects. Besides the human health impacts, cattle were slaughtered, export markets shut down, and the long-term impact on producers was significant.

Australia is fortunate to be BSE-free, and forbids the feeding of Restricted Animal Material (RAM) products to ruminant livestock. It’s a condition of our industry’s on-farm food safety program – Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) under Requirement 3 – stock feed, fodder crops, grain and pasture treatments, and includes meat, meat and bone meal, blood and bone meal, dog biscuits, poultry, offal meal, feather meal, fishmeal or any other animal meals or manures.

The bans provide insurance against any spread of the disease in Australia and satisfy the requirements of some of our meat export markets. Label statements about the content of RAM are required on stock foods. Tallow and used cooking oils which meet prescribed standards, gelatin and milk are exempt from the bans.

While strict quarantine measures help protect our BSE-status, every livestock producer has a responsibility to abide by Ram requirements to reduce any risk of the disease spreading in this country.

To learn more about LPA’s stock feed, fodder crops, grain and pasture treatment requirements, work through Course 3 of LPA Learning or visit the Integrity Hub.

(Reference NSW DPI)